DOE issues another export authorization for Corpus Christi LNG project

The U.S. Department of Energy on May 12 issued a final authorization for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to export domestically-produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project, located in Corpus Christi, Texas, is now authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country, DOE noted in a May 12 announcement. This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with DOE’s Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 72.4 Bcf/d in 2015.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

DOE said will continue to act on applications to export LNG from the lower 48 states after completion of the review required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and when DOE has sufficient information on which to base a public interest determination. During this time, the department will continue to monitor any market developments and assess their impact in subsequent public interest determinations as further information becomes available. Critics, including Republicans in Congress, claim that DOE is moving too slowly on these applications.

In August 2012, Cheniere Marketing LLC and Corpus Christi Liquefaction LLC filed this application. The exports would originate from the proposed Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to be located near Corpus Christi, Texas, in San Patricio and Nueces counties.

Cheniere Marketing is an indirect subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, a developer of LNG terminals and natural gas pipelines on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The Liquefaction Project and other facility modifications are being developed by Corpus Christi Liquefaction (an applicant in this proceeding) and by Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline LP at the same general locations proposed for the previously authorized Corpus Christi LNG LP import terminal and associated pipeline (Corpus Christi Terminal).

Cheniere Corpus Christi Pipeline is developing plans to construct, own, and operate an approximately 23-mile long natural gas transmission pipeline in Nueces and San Patricio counties. Once constructed, the Corpus Christi Pipeline will connect the Corpus Christi Terminal facilities to interstate and intrastate natural gas supplies and markets.

Previously, DOE authorized the applicants to export domestically produced LNG by vessel from the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to countries with which the United States has, or in the future enters into, a FTA requiring the national treatment for trade in natural gas (FTA countries), in the same volume authorized for export in this May 12 order (767 Bcf/yr of natural gas). The volumes of LNG authorized for export under that prior FTA order and this May 12 order reflect the planned liquefaction capacity of the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project and are not additive to one another.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.